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Foundation trust refutes bullying staff claims from MP


A foundation trust has taken the “unusual” step of writing to staff about its whistleblowing policy after an MP published allegations of bullying made by trust staff.

Labour MP for Bassetlaw John Mann says he has been contacted by “a number of his constituents” who work at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals Foundation Trust, who told him they were too scared to raise concerns about service cuts because of a campaign of bullying and intimidation.

Mr Mann published anonymous comments on his website - - under the heading: “In the staff’s own words: what’s really happening at Bassetlaw Hospital”.

For example, one claims that when staff raise “issues of concern to management they are bullied into submission, ignored or over-ruled”.

The trust’s interim chief executive Peter Reading responded by saying he had “taken the unusual step of writing to all hospital staff directly about the various ways in which they can raise concerns about how the trust is run or aspects of care”.

In an open letter to the press, Mr Reading said: “We have been given no evidence to support these comments.

“We are very concerned about the suggestion that there is such a campaign.”

“We welcome challenge by staff. No member of staff has raised any concerns that we are aware of about bullying and intimidation, nor have we heard anything from the trade unions or other staff organisations about such a thing going on in a systematic way, as Mr Mann suggests.”

Unison acting branch secretary for the area Rianne Johnson said the union also had no evidence that a “culture of bullying and harassment” existed at the trust.


Readers' comments (5)

  • possibly there is no evidence because people are too scared to report anything or put it into writing. No evidence does not mean its not happening!

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  • No evidence is because when staff raise such issues, management refuse to document the facts. Plus they fail to see events for what they are and even defend those of guilty acts (perhaps they may even be the bully?). Hence why staff have to find other avenues for reporting offences.

    I have whisleblown twice in 12 years because Department management were part of or were aware of events, yet refused to act. The first time was via a Director and the other via a Minister, both times with Union Management by my side!

    Its amazing how folk pass through their career and witness, if not be a victim of bullying and harassment. Yet once they get their own management office, they become part of the regime or bury their heads in the sand until it goes away!

    In my case's I was not a victim, but stood up to protect colleagues and practice and to right several wrongs. There is life and a career after whisleblowing - even for the guilty. Any avenue to justice is a good avenue.

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  • There has been a problem with bullying tactics within this trust for a while, its either put up or shut up in my opinion,

    I was involved in a bullying situation as a newly qualified staff nurse a number of years ago, the suppost i got from my ward manager was zilch!! i was told "they have done it before and will do it again" what help was that to me !!!! i left the ward soon after as i found that as i was the new one in others were taking the side of the bullier so as not to be bullied themselves :-(

    the 2nd incident did not actually involve me been bullied, but my work collegues, i was a band 5 staff nurse, seeing another band 5 bully not only other collegues but patients too, i was the whistle blower this time, but i was the one made to feel bad, i was the one who recieved a letter from the trust telling me i had to stop reporting this bully, therefore allowing her to get away with what she was doing to the other people, and patients!! i would just love to know what hold she has over the trust, it appears she can do anything and get away with it!! and by using scarmongering tactics the trust just brushes it under the carpet and she is allowed to carry on :-(

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  • Bullying is common place in life in general, and large organisations such as the NHS is no different. Peter Reading writing to all staff, while a logical step and ticks a box of so called investigating the claims, cannot be surprised that staff denied a problem, especially in the current economical climate when people are concerned about jobs.

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  • I reported a manager for bullying [myself and others].
    The 'investigating officer' asked me such illuminating questions as 'don't you feel managers need to shout at you to get their point across?'. After this it was plain that the investigation would show nothing.

    I was told there was no corroborating evidence at all and the case was not proven. However, another person's statement which clearly used the word 'bullying' about the same individual was given to me. Management then said it could not look into this as the Policy states I shouldn't have seen the statement. In essence it didn't exist because they said it didn't, and when I could prove it existed they could refuse to look at it.
    Moral? Never complain against a Band 8C or the heads will close ranks to save their stinking hide.

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